McCain, Flake, Reed, Nelson, King, Blunt

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator McCain: (12:25 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "At a time of crippling budget cuts under sequestration, the Defense Department can't afford to waste its limited resources for the benefit of sports leagues that rake in billions of dollars a year. Each of the four service chiefs have warned before the Senate Armed Services Committee this year sequestration is damaging our military readiness and putting American lives in danger. We must conserve every precious defense dollar we have at our disposal, which the NDAA does through the important reforms and which our amendment would support by ending taxpayer-funded soldier tributes at professional sports events. In addition to ending this shameful practice, this amendment calls upon professional sports leagues like the NFL to donate - to donate -- these ill-gotten profits supporting charities supporting veterans and their families. The NFL raked in revenues totaling some $9.5 billion, the absolute least they can do to begin to make up for this misjudgment is to return those taxpayer dollars to charities supporting our troops, veterans and military families."

 

Senator Flake: (12:35 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "The problem is, when some teams are accepting money to do what has been termed "Paid-for Patriotism" then it cheapens all the other good work that is done by these sports teams and others. So it is important that we stop this practice and make sure that when fans are there and they see this outpouring of support for the military that they know it's genuine. Because there is a great deal of patriotism by those who attend these games. We want to make sure that people recognize that it's done for the right reason. That's the reason to bring this forward, and again I want to thank the senior senator from Arizona for his work on this and other efforts to fight wasteful spending and make sure that the funding that goes to our military and that we appropriate for the Department of Defense and authorize for the Department of Defense is used for military purposes."

 

Senator Reed: (12:36 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "I believe our best approach is to stay with the language in the underlying bill at section 136, which to the credit of Senator Tillis, he was very adamant about including, you'll have a careful review of the operational capacity of the Air Force to support airborne operations. It would include the ability of commanders from the corps level, 82nd special operation commanders to combat on whether the Air Force is doing this. A review and analysis, we could make better decisions about the allocation of Air Force aircraft. Ironically - and again it strikes me that simply moving these aircraft, which is sort of one-of-a-kind aircraft to pope would not help the air born operations of our military forces and they would simply involve additional costs and they would not be part of the ability of our air force and our mobility command to support a wide range of missions."

 

Senator Nelson: (12:51 PM)

  • Spoke on Beau Biden.
    • "When a child predeceases the parent, it is a grievous occasion, and we have been grieving for the president of the Senate, the vice president of the United States, for what he has been going through; his whole family. It is my belief that Joe Biden has known for some period of time the progression of the cancer on his son Beau, and as a result, he has continued to carry on his public duties while at the same time carrying this huge, huge burden. I would like to enter in the record the speech that Joe Biden made to the Yale graduating class about two weeks ago at class day. Mr. President, I'd like to enter that into the record."

 

Senator King: (1:08 PM)

  • Spoke in the ex-im bank.
    • "As I mentioned, allowing the export-import bank to expire is a kind of unilaterally disarmament in global competition. It makes no sense. 60 other countries have similar kinds of programs, and we take ours away, what we're doing is handcuffing our businesses while the rest of the world is moving forward with their programs to support exports. I used to start speeches in Maine by saying simply 5%. And people would look at me and say what is he talking about, 5%? Five percent is the percentage of the world's population that lives in North America. If our businesses are going to ultimately by successful, we have to sell into the rest of the world. We have to be able to export. And this, the export-import bank is a very valuable tool in order to facilitate the exports of goods from the United States. There's bipartisan support."
  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Yes, we need to think about strategic tax reductions in ways and areas that will actually help stimulate the economy. I don't understand why having some guy that's managing money in New York, paying half the tax rate that his secretary makes, is a stimulus to the economy. And yet, that's what we're doing. We've got to be looking at this problem in a comprehensive way. We've got to look at health care costs. We've got to look at the effects of demographics on federal expenditures over the next 20 to 30 years. And we've got to look at investments that will help our economy to grow. You and I worked hard on this bill. I think it's an important bill for the future of this country. I think it's an important bill to protect the national security, to provide for the common defense, but I think we need to do it in an honest and open way and not try to fill a short-term budget gap with money that our children and our grandchildren are going to have to repay."

 

Senator Blunt: (1:32 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "First I believe the military's mental health screening process can be improved. We've learned a lot about mental health and behavioral health over the past 15 years. I believe we can continue to adapt and frankly last year's defense authorization bill had important steps in this direction that I was able to get in the bill when I was a member of the committee last year, not just the Appropriating Committee, the defense appropriating committee that I serve on now but the defense authorizing committee that I served on then. The amendments I will offer will improve the pre-deployment health assessment and post deployment health reassessment by requiring that all service members be screened, that they don't have to meet some criteria that every member of the service may not meet. It's important while people are serving to establish the things that have happened to them so later if they need to come back and ask - years later, perhaps, for assistance in what truly was a post event that was caused by their service but didn't show up for a number of years."